So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

FSSP Ordinations - 8am Pacific Time Friday May 26th

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Why do Catholics meditate on a Crucifix?

Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi,
quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Qui passus es pro nobis, Domine, Domine, miserere nobis.

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
for by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
Who suffered for us, O Lord, have mercy on us.

The Crib of Bethlehem rests in the shadow of the Cross of Calvary.

Our Palestinian Christian brethren of Bethlehem and the Holy Land live that reality every day. During this season in which our thoughts frequently turn to the biblical Bethlehem, let us remember Christian families devastated by the ongoing struggle between various factions in the Holy Land. Let us remember Christians everywhere who, enduring day to day hardships that few of us in the West can imagine, suffer at the hands of their persecutors in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, many places in Africa, Pakistan and elsewhere.

Mary, Mother of God and our Mother (St. John 19:25-27), understands suffering:
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”—St. Luke 2:34-35.
The Crib of Bethlehem rests in the shadow of the Cross of Calvary.

The Feast of the Holy Innocents (Childermas), this year, coincides with the Solemn Feast of the Holy Family. Let us not forget the children slain by the tyrant Herod who, in an attempt to rid himself of the Messiah, laid waste to all male children in the region of Bethlehem.
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men.—St. Matthew 2:16.
“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more.”
—St. Matthew 2:18, Jeremiah 31:15.

Lord have mercy upon those who know not the crime against humanity that they have committed.

The Crib of Bethlehem rests in the shadow of the Cross of Calvary.

Why do Catholics meditate on a crucifix? For starters... .

1. We are reminded that God loves us so much that He took upon Himself the sin and suffering of the world, died on a cross and overcame death so that we might be saved and join Him after our physical death to enjoy the bliss of eternal life with God, the angels and the saints. Jesus stretched out His arms to embrace all of creation. Do we accept His invitation to embrace Him?
The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" and through Baptism (CCC 1987): But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.—Romans 6:8-11.
2. Suffering has meaning. The wounds in the sacred Body of Jesus make a space for us in God. Our wounds make a place in our lives for Jesus Christ. Though we should not seek additional suffering out of some masochistic motivation, crisis, when it comes, helps us confront in our lives the ways we need to change. When we are powerless, we are more capable of acknowledging that our very being depends on God's sustaining grace.
(B)ut he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.—2 Corinthians 12:9-11.
3. To request God's grace to help us grow in holiness through the opening that our wounds provide is a sign of a child's trust in his Heavenly Father. Aided by God's grace, suffering strips us of obstacles to grace and therein true peace enters into our lives, a peace only Christ can give.
You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.—St. Augustine, Confessions.
4. It breaks down any illusions about trying to avoid suffering in this life. It puts into perspective our own sufferings. We, too, must take up our cross.
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.—St. Luke 14:27.
5. We are reminded to offer up our sufferings and join them to the sufferings of Christ. We ask Jesus to accept our sufferings and place them within His wounds.
He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.—St. Matthew 10:39, 16:25; St. John 12:25.
6. We who follow Christ must do as he did. We, too, must offer ourselves in sacrificial love for others.
Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.—St. John 15:13.
7. It reminds us that one day, perhaps sooner than we imagine, we too shall die and that we should pray for a happy death.
And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.—Hebrews 9:27-28
8. We are reminded that in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Christ meets His people: Heaven descends and meets earth; time and eternity intersect. In Christ, time (horizontal cross beam) and eternity (vertical beam) meet. In the Mass we are present to the Institution of the Holy Eucharist (Last Supper) and the one and same Sacrifice of Christ at Calvary. We are present to the Incarnation and  Nativity of our Lord. We are present to all those who have gone before us with the Sign of faith (Roman Canon). If the presence of those realities isn't reason enough to bend the knee and bow the head in profound thanksgiving, adoration and praise for what the Saviour has done, what is?
Beginning with the Easter Triduum as its source of light, the new age of the Resurrection fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance. Gradually, on either side of this source, the year is transfigured by the liturgy. It really is a "year of the Lord's favor." The economy of salvation is at work within the framework of time, but since its fulfillment in the Passover of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the culmination of history is anticipated "as a foretaste," and the kingdom of God enters into our time.—CCC 1168.
9. Christ died; Christ rose; Christ returns at every Mass: in His word (Holy Scripture) and in the Holy Eucharist (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity); Christ will come again: He will meet us at death and He will return at the Second Coming.
By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and lives for ever, so all of us will rise at the last day.—CCC 1016.
10. In Hoc Signo Vinces. By this sign you will conquer. The culture of death will be defeated because Christ, by His death and resurrection, has defeated death. The Cross of Christ destroys death.
For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.—Ephesians 6:12.
11. It reminds us that to be Catholic is to be a sign of contradiction in the world. We are, after all, in the world, but not of it.
(B)ut we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.—1 Corinthians 1:23.
12. Only he who wears the crown of thorns can hope to wear the crown of glory.

Resolve to always make the Sign of the Cross reverently, with conviction and awareness that Jesus Christ loves you and has saved You by His blood.

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Mary, our Mother, pray with us for those who are suffering loss of home and livelihood this Christmas. Remember them and your innocent children, our lost generation, to your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose name we pray. Amen.

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